Randomly Thinking: Who is the elusive 11%?


Patrick Harris, Director of Media and Public Relations, Ohio Credit Union Leagueby: Patrick Harris, Director of Media and Public Relations, Ohio Credit Union League

The media coverage regarding the conclusion of a Javelin Strategy and Research survey, which found consumers’ continued willingness to switch financial institutions, made me want to identify the mindset of the elusive 11%. Was this latest batch of angry survey respondents angry that day, or are they consistently angry? Are they the same lot who made a similar pledge leading up to Bank Transfer Day? If so, and for being so angry, why are they so apathetic (fancy for lazy)?

Let me preface the following by admitting that I did not read the full Javelin report (it’s $1,500, or about $50 per page – too rich for my blood). But the overview tells me all I need to know: “About 11% of consumers surveyed in March 2012 indicate they are at risk of switching primary financial institutions in the coming year.” At risk? Hardly earth shattering news. About one out of 10 times I go to my favorite Mexican restaurant I leave unsatisfied, and am at risk of “moving my burrito addiction.” But I’m still a dedicated Cucos customer.

We all get angry at our financial institution at one point or another. Perhaps we were on hold for too long, the branch was not open when I needed it to be, the lady at the counter didn’t smile, my account balance was lower than I thought, the fee was too high, there was a fee at all, etc. Any of these occurrences can spark an emotional reaction of, “I’m not gonna take it anymore.”

Coverage of the report harped on consumers being bogged down in a world of switching anxiety – account numbers, direct deposit, bill pay, etc. This tells me the 11% is angry, but their anger is either short-lived or they are just too busy (less fancy for lazy) to live up to their heated pledge. In other words, complainers only complain until they have something else to complain about, and move on.

Short of waiting outside the door of every mega bank branch and asking, “were you unhappy today? No? Join me,” how do credit unions take advantage of the daily 11% who are momentarily emotionally fed-up?

To capture the elusive 11%, credit unions must be visibly accessible often, and hospitable when they are needed. They should immerse themselves in the culture of the communities they serve – – host small businesses breakfasts, consumer open houses, community picnics, sponsor the little league team.

After all, maybe half a percent of the 11% just pulled up to a bank branch at 5:30 p.m., with a car full of little leaguers, as the closed sign was being put in the window, by a frowning branch manager, who just forced them to a fee-based ATM.

Patrick Harris has been Director of Media Relations and Public Relations for the Ohio Credit Union League since October 2007. He builds relationships with broadcast, print, and trade media by bringing attention to credit union philosophy, structure, and success stories. Before joining the Credit Union Movement, Harris spent nearly a decade working for the State of Ohio in multiple public relations rolls, including stints in the Ohio General Assembly, Office of the Governor, and several state agencies. Harris holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Communication from Franklin University.  His column, Randomly Thinking, appears quarterly at CUInsight, and combines attempts at humor and insight into the Credit Union Movement. His thoughts are his own, thankfully, and for the sake of his paycheck, do not always reflect his employer.

Patrick Harris

Patrick Harris

Patrick Harris has served as Director of Media and Public Relations for the Ohio Credit Union League since October 2007. He builds relationships with broadcast, print, and trade media by ... Web: www.ohiocreditunions.org Details

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